Life

Auroras and Angst

A soft tapping on the window startled us awake. My sisters and I sat up, scared for only a moment until we realized who it was. We peeked out to make sure. Yup. We quickly threw on some warm clothes, grabbed blankets, and tiptoed out of our room and out of the house, possibly stopping to pick up my brothers along the way. Once outside, we greeted our friends from down the street, and the group of us took off, giggling and chattering, albeit quietly so as not to wake up anyone else in the small neighborhood.

For those of you in shock right now that I would ever do anything so scandalous as sneaking out the house, I hate to burst your bubble, but I wouldn’t. We had standing permission to leave the house specifically whenever this occurred.

We hurried to the bottom of the hill, ducked under the rope blocking any vehicular traffic, and made our way up, clasping our coats tightly to ward off the cold. We shivered our way past the creepy, empty barracks to our right, my imagination predictably going wild thinking about the people who used to live there and wondering if it was possible anyone was still secretly living there.

Finally making it to the top, we spread out the blankets we had brought, lying down on them, and looked up to watch brilliant flashes of green, pink, red, and yellow flash across the sky.

Watching the northern lights was a favorite pastime, no matter what time we had to get up for it. The brilliant aurora making its way across a dark, star-studded sky was a show of majesty unlike any other experience in the world. Possibly even surpassing the ocean.

It’s been years since I’ve seen the northern lights, but someday, I’ll go back up north and lie on the ground in the middle of the night in hopes of catching them.

Hello, my readers! It has been a busy week. But a good kind of busy. The past ten-ish days has been my first opportunity since moving to writing full time to see how I would do with a legit excuse to skip writing activities.

The result?

Well, could have been better, could have been worse.

We have had company staying with us – namely my sister-in-law, and for a while, her boyfriend as well. Now, thankfully, both of them slept in most days, which meant that I could work in the mornings without my inner hostess freaking out too much. However, that also meant late nights, which meant I didn’t want to get up in the morning either. So, I compromised. I didn’t get up at 7:30-8:00 with my dear, longsuffering husband, but I did try to get up most days by 8:30 or 9:00. Which meant I still got at least a few hours of work in – after I caught up on dishes from the night before and cleaned up the kitchen.

Some of the time, I even worked full days. I was legitimately surprised at myself for being able to do so, since when I have guests over everything within me is screaming to go clean, cook, or offer to entertain, but when I was closed up in my writing room, it appeared I could actually work and even mostly concentrate with guests in the house.

That being said, I also took a few afternoons off. Which was totally worth it because my sister-in-law introduced me to some thrift stores in the area, the existence of which I was completely unaware before she came. And we went kayaking and to the Bible museum in DC and to a winery. As well as board games, and movies, and in general, just had a great time.

So, like I said, could have been better and could have been worse.

I haven’t really landed on how I feel about this yet. What DO self-employed and working-from-home people usually do in these situations? Do they hold themselves accountable to themselves, or do they just take time off to spend with their guests, without another thought? Do they compromise, like me? Is it dependent on the situation? My brain couldn’t decide.

What couldn’t have been worse was the voices in my head. Granted, those self-condemning thoughts have been pretty frantic since taking this step in faith, but this month it was worse. I swear, no matter what was going on around me or how productive or non-productive I was being, it was like a revolving audio book dialogue.

Morning:

You should get up. No, you don’t have to. You are allowed to sleep in. No, you are just being lazy. Your husband is up. Think of how much you could have gotten done by now. But I will get some work in, I just need to sleep a little more so I can be good company today. Clearly, you just don’t want to work. Is that because you are afraid of failing? Well, maybe. Well, you are already failing because you aren’t up yet.

Throughout the day:

Why aren’t you writing? I’m researching ways to make money writing. You are procrastinating. You know you will never actually make money doing this. You might as well either give up or just go write what you want. I need to make a plan. Are your guests up yet? You didn’t tell them what to eat for lunch. Or prep breakfast for them. You could have been making them breakfast or lunch in the time you were spending on your phone game avoiding writing, you know. Okay, I have 2 more hours before we leave for [insert blank], I need to really finish this. No, I should be making food. I should make dessert. Crap, I forgot to pull the meat out for dinner. Are you procrastinating again? Why are you editing this story? It was rejected dozens of times, you need to archive it and stop wasting time. Etc. Etc.

Evening:

Am I doing the right thing? Should I be trying to make money writing or just work on books and short stories? Should I submit short stories to magazines or post them on my website. Should I enter that one writing contest? Is it a waste of time? Should I work on my website, social media, or writing tomorrow? I forgot to post a book review. . . is my new format just stupid, or brilliant? Do people actually read it? Am I wasting my time? What type of blog post should I do? I feel so exposed, maybe I should just find generic topics to write on. I’m not getting as many likes as I used to, clearly this entire thing is failing. Maybe I should delete everything and start over—under a pseudonym. Should I take the day off tomorrow and spend it with my guests or am I just avoiding work? Why am I avoiding work? I’m supposed to enjoy this, aren’t I? Was I denying God earlier when I told someone I didn’t know if this was permanent or not? Should I have just left it as God is telling me to write instead of indicating I might go back to a normal job next year?

Did you actually read all that? I’m impressed if you did. Summary: Self-doubt, rambling, indecision. Imagine all of those conversations and lots more along the same veins playing over and over and on and on, and you’ll get an idea of what my daily mental life is currently like.

I take hope thinking that maybe this is the type of self-doubt a lot of people experience when making a big change in their lives. There has to be a lot of fear and doubt and questioning, right?

I’m actually very grateful for the past 10 days with company, not just because it was fun, but also because it brought some of the grating thoughts to the forefront and is forcing me to address them. At what point do I take breaks and make exceptions? And should it be defined ahead of time?

It also let me know how much I can get done when I know I have a limited amount of time to work. And I can actually be pretty productive.

I don’t know the answer to all the self-doubt and questions yet, but I have a feeling it will be an ongoing growing experience. And God is faithful. He has consistently reminded me through recent sermons and Bible chapters to walk in faith. Like, seriously, there have been an inordinate amount of sermons and daily readings that talk about stepping out in faith even when you can’t see the end result. So, I think I’m on the right path, even if I feel like I am walking in inky darkness while feeling for obstacles in front of me, with the occasional flash of a northern light to encourage me.

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